March 6, 2010
Well this week there may be a few posts about travel as I sit in my hotel room after what feels like a long (yet successful) day of lugging around our stuff and our baby to a new city for a mini-vacation.
This first post is going to be about baby travel essentials and I am going to focus on the gear you should pack. We have now taken our son on two flights and we have traveled by car to other destinations and we have had pretty positive experiences. Every trip seems to get easier--and I am not sure yet if that is because he is getting older or if our experience is paying off.
First of all, I am a huge fan of baby-wearing and it has been so helpful both times going through the airport--my hands are free and my little guy is safe. I am a Beco-carrier-lover but any carrier is great. I also bring along my sling because it stores so well in a purse/diaper bag and whip it out when needed. In fact, they let me go through security wearing my baby in a sling. It was awesome. I really feel that baby wearing in the airport reassures your child my keeping them close to you and really frees up your hands when you are on the move. It is also easier than a stroller as you can go up and down stairs/escalators.
That being said, on our first flight mommy-friend Dayle lent us her amazing umbrella stroller (Esprit) and it allowed for great walks while on vacation. We have since purchased a Maclaren (it was on sale at a very good price) and we enjoy it as well. Ideally, your umbrella stroller or convenience stroller should recline partially or fully to provide comfort for your infant (toddlers in umbrella strollers don't NEED to recline) and be easy to fold up. Strong wheels for good maneuverability and make sure that it is comfortable ergonomically for you to push. When traveling to hot destinations--a nice sun shield is a must and when traveling to not-so-hot destinations you should have a foot muff or bundle me that works with your stroller because blankets are a hassle when traveling. Another feature: My husband today was commenting on how much he loved the strap on the Maclaren so that he could put it over his shoulder as we walked with our luggage. Many strollers have handles or straps to help with carrying them when they are folded up.
If you are nursing--a nursing cover or blanket and if you are bottle-feeding a bottle. This is the for the plane. I don't care how short your flight is--the sucking soothes your child during take-off and landing and helps with the ear popping. Although a nursing cover is not necessary, I find it nice to block out all that is going on around and allows the baby to focus on the task at hand. As for the bottle--yes, you can bring formula or water through the security if it is for your baby. They may do a vaporisation test on your water but that's no big deal and it does not affect the water. If your child will take a soother, bring one along as well.
A really great diaper bag, preferably a diaper bag that is a back-pack. For this one, I have to thank my sister. I have a great "city" diaper bag that I use on a day to day basis that is messenger style. My sister (who traveled across the ocean regularly with babies) gave me her old diaper bag that is a back-pack. I looked at it and thought it was way too big for my day-to-day but when we travel we pull it out because it is wonderful. It has a million pockets, places to put everything from a change-pad to soothers and insulated areas for bottles and even has a pocket for soiled diapers. (it is called Baby break by Tatonka but any back-pack or large diaper bag could provide the same) I love that it fits so much and it also is worn on the back--again, freeing up the hands.
For you: suitcases that have wheels that you can pull. I know that this seems like a no-brainer but today at the airport I saw a family struggling with a large backpack, 2 duffel bags and a stroller as I breezed by them with my son in a carrier and pulling my suitcase with my diaper bag on my back.
A pack and play or reserving a crib with the hotel that you are staying at. Co-sleeping is great if that is what you do regularly but if not, make everyone more comfortable and get a good night's rest.
If your baby is eating solids, a portable, fold-up seat. We have a great one that attaches to a chair and is quite compact.
This week I plan to post about accommodations, activities/toys and proper planning when traveling.
We are having a great time on our trip and please add any of your trip tips this week to the blog since it's always so great to learn from others!
Great resource: the podcast titled "Travel with Baby" at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/babies-moms-birth-beyond/id285719071 It's free of course.
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